Saint Julie Billiart (1751-1816)
for April 8
Saint Julie Billiart was poorly educated, compared to other school children, but was highly educated in her Christian faith. She had her catechism memorized by the time she was seven years old. Instead of running around and playing, Julie spent her free time teaching catechism to other young children as well as farmhands. When she reached the age of 14, she took a personal vow of chastity and made it her life's work to serve and teach the poor. At 22, someone shot a gun at her father through the window of her house. She was so shocked that she became paralyzed for over 20 years. Even though she was paralyzed, Julie continued to teach catechism lessons from her bedside and gave spiritual advice to visitors who came after hearing of her holiness. Julie became acquainted with a missionary priest who encouraged her to pray a novena to the Sacred Heart. On the fifth day of his visit, the priest said, "Mother, if you have any faith, take one step in honor of the Sacred Heart." Miraculously, Julie was healed and began to walk. She began the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame, which was dedicated to the Christian education of the poor and of young girls. Saint Julie Billiart is the patroness against bodily ills, poverty, and sickness.
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Although Saint Julie Billiart cared deeply for and devoted substantial time to serving the poor, she also recognized that all classes of people were in need of God. It is easy for us to forget that people of all backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, and levels of success are in need of compassion and love from us and God.
Please, God, help me to care for every single human I ever meet, regardless of the person's circumstances.